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Monday, May 15, 2017

Stade Français end season on a high with European Challenge Cup title

Stade Français claimed their first ever European trophy on Friday night, by beating Gloucester 28-21 in the Challenge Cup final at Murrayfield.

The Parisian side, who have had an up-and-down 2017 season - finishing 7th in the Top 14 and embroiled in potential take-over talks - twice finished runner-up in the second tier of European rugby cups, losing to Harlequins in 2011 and Leinster in 2013.

So it was fitting that, third time lucky, they came out on top in a scrappy but entertaining battle.

Tries from man-of the-match Sergio Parisse and Jonathan Danty negated Jonny May's opening score for Gloucester before Geoffrey Doumayrou's brilliant solo effort secured the win.

Gloucester were spirited in defeat and had the final say with Ross Moriarty touching down under the posts.

The game wasn't without controversy though as Gloucester scrum-half Willi Heinz was shown a yellow card for a high, and late challenge on Jules Plisson. The Stade out-half had been a target for the Gloucester defence all night and copped several hard, but legal tackles throughout the game. 

Heinz's yellow didn't matter in the end as Stade failed to capitalise. Instead they waited until a moment of brilliance from Doumayrou, who slewed between Gloucester defenders late in the game to go over for the winning try.

A Morné Steyn penalty in the closing stages cemented the victory.

credit: rugbyxv

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